From Rate My Students, May 18, 2009
- There is a sad neediness that screams out of Katie's recent post. Of course it's easy to friend the flakes, darlin'. They have no defenses against it. If they reject your friendship, they'll feel as though they're sealing their own death in your class. They are kids, first, and when an adult who is not their parent shows interest, it makes them feel like grown-ups. They're going to take to that, even though they're hardly equipped for any sort of real relationship. It's always going to be "sensei-student." Will YOU feel their love? Sure. Better to get a dog, Katie. There's a lot more reality in that relationship than the ones you're bragging about.
- I have two, very specific recommendations for Katie. (1) Meet with the university's lawyer and describe for him/her the activities you've engaged with students, on- & off-campus. (2) Spend some time with a therapist to discuss your relationships with students, colleagues, and this blog. Katie, if you get the "all clear," then kudos to you and shame on us. Until that time, be prepared to be smacked for reasons that seem apparent to many of us but oblivious to you.
- What kinds of students are these that they would willingly go to the home of a professor? Don't get me wrong - it's not that I don't respect the vast majority of the academics who teach at my institution, but to like them enough to cultivate some sort of friendship? I'm 18-years-old - the only way I'd be going to a professor's house is if they were a complete hottie, and there was at least a 96% chance I was going to get some. Realistically, if a professor that good-looking and slutty really exists, what are the chances they're going to want to hang out with a student?
- Katie seems quite proud of the fact that she doesn't lead her students, and that in fact they often lead her through the material. How much are we paying you, you new age wonk?
- I confess I'm from the older generation of instructors Katie alludes to, but could someone explain to me why calling students and being called by our first or "nick" (?) names is some pedagogical breakthrough?
- There is something skeevy about a professor wanting students in her home. I don't care how you dress it up.
- It's not a party, Katie. You're not there for the friendships and the relationships. There's work that needs to be covered, and I'm betting you're not getting it done.
- There have been real losers on this page before - Wayne, you know it's you - but there's nobody as pathetic as Kalamazoo Katie...get. some. help. now.
- "But, you see, I don't want to lead them. In fact many times my students lead me to new understandings." What nonsense. I can't imagine someone teaching brain surgery or engine repair or piano or woodworking making this sort of statement. Either you know more than your students or you don't. If you do, wear your learning gracefully and honestly. Students hate being patronized. If you don't know more than your students, you have no business teaching. It's been said many times, but I have to say it here -- this picture of the professor who sees students as a everfreshening source of potential friends is fucking creepy. Pardon my French.
- You know, I would much rather have Wicked Walter's insane, chest-beating rants than Katie from Kalamazoo's narcissistic odes to her own wonderfulness. I love her poisoning the well strategy-- if anyone thinks that making undergrads our BFFs is a boneheaded I-await-my-sexual-harassment-lawsuit idea, then they must be a silverback. Look, I've made friends with some of my students. I'm invited to the wedding of one of them this summer, and I've hosted philosophy club cookouts on my deck. But we have become friends always after they graduate. Before then, they are all students and I am there to shepherd them through the fields of knowledge. They get goaded, praised, ass-kicked, encouraged, whatever is needed. But they are not there to be my playmates, call me nicknames (to my face), engage in Katie-style circle-jerks with me, or play mirror, mirror on the wall. And they are most certainly not there to "lead me to new understandings." Not just because it is pretty damn unlikely, but because teaching is not all about me. Here's a wild idea-- teaching has something to do with the students. I know, I'm old-school.